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COMMANDMENT VIII.


Evan. Well, then, I pray you consider, that in the eighth commandment there is a

negative part expressed in these words, "Thou shalt not steal"; that is, though

shalt by no unlawful way or means hurt or hinder the wealth and outward estate

either of thyself or others: and an affirmative part included in these words, "But

thou shalt by all good means preserve and further them both."


Neo. I pray you, sir, begin with the negative part, and first tell us what is

forbidden in this commandment, as a hurt or hindrance of our own outward

estate.


Evan. That we may not hurt or hinder our own outward estate, in this

commandment are forbidden idleness, sloth, and inordinate walking, (Prov 18:9, 2

Thess 3:11); and so also are unthriftiness and carelessness, either in spending our

goods, or in ordering our affairs and businesses, (Prov 21:17, 1 Tim 5:8); and so

also is unadvised suretyship, (Prov 11:15).


Neo. And what is forbidden in this commandment, as tending to the hurt or

hindrance of our neighbour's estate?


Evan. That we may not hurt or hinder our neighbour's outward estate, in this

commandment is forbidden covetousness and discontentedness with our estate,

(Heb 13:5); and so also is enviousness at the prosperity of others, (Prov 24:1);

and so also are resolutions or hastening to be rich, as it were, whether the Lord

afforded means or not, (1 Tim 6:9, Prov 28:20); and so also is borrowing and not

paying again, we being able, (Psa 37:21); and so also is lending upon usury, (Exo

22:25); and so also is the not restoring of things borrowed, (Psa 37:21); and so

also is cruelty in requiring all our debts, without compassion or mercy, (Isa 58:3);

and so also is the praising of any commodity we sell, contrary to our own

knowledge, or the debasing of anything we buy, against our own conscience, (Isa

5:20, Prov 20:14); and so also is the hoarding up, or withholding the selling of

corn and other necessary commodities when we may spare them, and others have

need of them, (Prov 11:26); and so also is the retaining of hireling's wages,

(James 5:4); and so also is uncharitable inclosure, (Isa 5:8); and so also is the

selling of any commodity by false weights or false measures, (Lev 19:35): and so

also is the concealing of things found, and withholding them from the right owners

when they are known; and so also is robbery, or the laying of violent and strong

hands on any part of the wealth that belongs unto another, (Zech 4:3,4); and so

also is pilfering and secret carrying away of the wealth that belongs to another,

(Josh 7:21); and so also is the consenting to the taking away the goods of another,

(Psa 90:18); and so also is the receiving or harbouring of stolen goods, (Prov

29:24).


Neo. Well, now, sir, I pray you proceed to the affirmative part of this

commandment, and tell us what the Lord therein requires.


Evan. In this commandment is required contentedness of mind with that part and

portion of wealth and outward good things which God, in his providence, has

allotted unto us, (Heb 13:5, 1 Tim 6:6-8); and so also in resting by faith upon the

promise of God, and depending upon his providence, without distrustful care,

(Matt 6:20,26); and so also is a moderate desire of such things as are convenient

and necessary for us, (Matt 6:21, Prov 30:8); and so also is a moderate care to

provide those things which are needful for us, (Gen 30:30, 1 Tim 5:8); and so

also is an honest calling, (Gen 4:2); and so also is diligence, painfulness, and

faithful labouring therein, (Gen 3:19); and so also is frugality or thriftiness, (Prov

27:23,24, John 6:12); and so also is borrowing for need and good ends, what we

are able to repay, and making payment with thanks and cheerfulness, (Exo

22:14); and so also is lending freely without compounding for gain, (Deut 15:8,

Luke 6:35); and so also is giving, or communicating outward things unto others,

according to our ability and their necessity, (Luke 11:41); and so also is the using

of truth, simplicity, and plainness in buying and selling, in hiring and letting, (Lev

25:14, Deut 25:13-15); and so also is the restoring of things found, (Deut 22:2,3);

and so also is the restoring of things committed to our trust, (Eze 18:7). And thus

have I endeavoured to satisfy your desire concerning the eighth commandment;

and now, neighbour Nomologista, I pray you, tell me whether you think you keep

it perfectly or not.


Nom. I can say this truly, that I never in all my life took away, or consented to

the taking away, of so much as a penny-worth of any other man's goods.


Evan. Though you did not, yet if there ever have been in your heart any

discontentedness with your own estate, or any envious thoughts towards others in

regard of their prosperity in the world, or any resolution to be rich, otherwise than

by the moderate use of lawful means, or if ever you borrowed and paid not again,

to the utmost of your ability, or if ever you lent upon usury, or if ever you did

cruelly require any debt above the ability of your debtor, or if ever you praised

anything you had to sell above the known worth of it, or if ever you did

undervalue anything you were to buy, contrary to your own thoughts of it, or if

ever you hoarded up corn in the time of dearth, or if ever you retained the

hireling's wages in your hands, to his loss or hindrance, or if ever you did sell any

commodity by false weights or measures, or if ever you did conceal anything

found from the right owner, when you knew him; then have you been guilty of

theft, and so have been a transgressor of this commandment.


And though you never have done any of these things, and it is strange if you have

not, yet if ever you were guilty of idleness, sloth, or any way unwarrantably

neglected your calling, or if ever you did unthriftily misspend any of your own

goods, or ever were negligent and careless in ordering your own affairs and

business, or if ever you sustained any loss by your unadvised suretyship, or if

ever you borrowed upon usury, except in case of extreme necessity, then have

you been guilty of robbing yourself, and so have been a transgressor of this

commandment.


Neo. Now, I pray you, sir, proceed to speak of the ninth commandment, as you

have done of the rest.



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